Sunday, March 06, 2011

The Bourne Ultimatum and What the World is Wanting (Looking for) from America

The Bourne Ultimatum and What the World is Wanting (Looking for) from America


Although the world’s movie viewers like a good action film, like THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM (2007), most of the planet is tired of cover-ups in real life. That is why the sweet little message of the Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass classic THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM is appreciated easily.

One American critic notes, “Damon plows through The Bourne Ultimatum like a force of nature; a silent, a living weapon on a mission of determined, unstoppable discovery. That’s right, discovery. In The Bourne Supremacy Bourne made the bad guys pay. This time he’s had enough and wants to know who he is. Bourne simply wants to be done with everything and he’s not the kind of guy that takes no for an answer.”

In short, over a three film series [2] following the journey Jason Bourne character (played by Damon), we catch glimpses that the once totally confused but violent man—and once upon a time ultra-patriot—is maturing or growing up.

In the conclusion to the action packed film, Bourne “breaks into … [an] office and steals classified … documents … resulting in a car chase which ends … forcing Bourne's stolen police car into a concrete divider. Bourne gets out and holds X at gunpoint before sparing his life and continuing on to 415 East 71st Street, memories of which were triggered by the false birthday he was given by Landy.”

In the meantime, “Dr. Albert Hirsch (Albert Finney), who ran Treadstone's behavior modification program” is told “that Bourne is en route.”
“[O]utside the building” another senior CIA “admits to [Bourne] her change of heart; that she's helping him because she hadn't signed up for programs like” those that made Bourne originally into a kill-on-demand-all-perceived-enemies of America.
Meanwhile, the senior CIA agent “faxes them [the documents from Bourne] to a secondary witness …. Bourne meets with Hirsch in an upper level room and, with Hirsch's help, finally recollects that he was not forced into the program, but in fact volunteered. He proclaims to no longer be "Jason Bourne" and flees….”

As the audience gets up to leave, the basic messages in the last few minutes of the film have been clear:

(1) America must do better than simply creating assassination machines out of people.
(2) American CIA and intelligence services should not misplay or overplay the patriot card, i.e. taking America and its volunteer-foot-soldiers further and further away from integrity and any idealized role-model position in the world.
(3) America and its agents around the world need to mature, grow up, and think out of the box rather than shooting or bombing whatever troubles us.
(4) America and its agents need to admit when wrong has been done and give up all bad identities, i.e. turning from the crimes and sins of our present & past.

A mobie soundtrack plays “Bourne’s Ultimatum”:

Extreme ways are back again
Extreme places I didn't know
I broke everything new again
Everything that I'd owned
I threw it out the windows, came along
Extreme ways I know move apart
The colors of my sea….

Extreme places I had gone
But never seen any light….

Then it fell apart, it fell apart
Oh baby, oh baby
Like it always does, always does….

I closed my eyes and closed myself
And closed my world and never opened
Up to anything….

Then it fell apart, it fell apart
Oh baby, oh baby
Like it always does, always do…

Let’s get smart America, demand a more mature America in this century—starting now. We aren’t babies on this planet anymore.


[1] Since the film came out in 2007, I have seen the Bourne Ultimatum film in a cinema in the Middle East, on TV in Germany and now in Taiwan. The world watches American movies—and it is watching America and Americans. Is there hope for America? Is there hope for the world? Yes, I think we can mature.—KAS

[2] This film is the third in the Bourne film series, being preceded by The Bourne Identity (2002) and The Bourne Supremacy (2004). The fourth movie, The Bourne Legacy, is scheduled for release in July 2012.



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